Serving up cookies and hot chocolate, the Bayport-Blue Point Chamber is hosting a Christmas tree lighting on Monday, Dec. 2 and a menorah lighting on the first day of Hanukkah, Dec. 22.
Long-lasting traditions in BBP, the tree and menorah lightings have been in place since before 1995. This year’s tree lighting is led by chamber member Steve Klinzing of State Farm Insurance, and the menorah lighting by chamber treasurer Seth Needelman of The Fish Store.
The Christmas tree lighting is held in conjunction with the Bayport Fire Department, who decorate their trucks and bring Santa Claus to the event as the BBP High School bands and chorus regale the crowd with holiday tunes and carols. Parents are given the opportunity to take photos of their children with Santa and also enjoy cookies from local bakeries and hot chocolate.
Reflecting the Jewish population of the area, the menorah lighting is attended by many community members of all denominations. This year, Rabbi Jessica Rosenthal of B’Nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale, will lead celebrants in learning of the story of Hanukkah and singing of Jewish-themed holiday songs. Former chamber president Lenore Ringer-Prezioso will bake her famous rugelach for the occasion.
Suffolk County police officers will be present for the menorah lighting as hate crimes have been seen in neighboring towns for outdoor menorahs at synagogues. The BBP menorah in Chamber Park has thankfully not been victim to hate-crime vandalism in the past, but the safety measures have been taken.